I wrote about this in my 8 Pitfalls book… 16 years ago when I started my accounts payable automation journey I used to ask my potential clients as well as my audiences how many people were automated? In the early days a few folks would raise their hand. Then I said, “In the future (not giving a time frame) how many people were going to be automated” and 100% of the group would raise their hand. The challenge with people automating and it being the “new-normal” is no one really knows when the future is going to start.
I like to follow the notion of when people are going to automate accounting by this perspective. That is, typically, in business people won’t really do anything until they have to, and I mean really have to. Especially something like automated AP where, let’s face it the old way is not so bad. By in large invoices get paid and there aren’t too many late fees and fire drills. Plus it’s a system that have been working in some companies for over 50 years… without change… yep I am trying to be funny here. This statement may seem strange coming from one of the biggest advocates of automation, but first and foremost I am a realist in the complex world of change. The reality is the United States and it’s business community are two to three federal laws away from mass adoptions. Meaning that true mass adoption of automation in accounting won’t really happen until the government steps in. I don’t know what your politics are but making automation a law is a pretty good motivator. I am also not saying that the government should step in. There has been movement in other countries and even thing like Sabines – Oxley laws are examples of rules where automation can help. The bottom line is most people need a real good reason to automated. Now, I write a lot about this and thought today I would take a different approach by writing about the worst reason to automate accounting, and the unfortunate thing is the worst reason is the most popular.
Back to the idea that one day accounting is going to be automated the worst reason to automate is because one day accounting will be automated. There is an popular notion that “I had better automate accounts payable” because everyone is doing it or because I need to get with the times or bring my business into the 21st century. Although I really understand that, modernizing a process should be a secondary side bonus and not the entire purpose. The driving force behind automating is to improve the work of your employees. To take your smart and able employees and put them on to tasks that have a higher impact to the organization, rather than have them filing, opening envelopes and system data entry. The great news is when you focus on improving your employees’ work life you are truly entering the 21st Century.
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About The Author:
Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information